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Plaza Centre (Plaza Theater)

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Plaza Theater
1925, Anna Wagner Keichline. 124 W. High St.
  • Plaza Centre (Plaza Theater)

Five bays of maroon brick with a central gabled pediment mark this two-story theater, a few doors west of the courthouse. Commercial spaces with wide transoms flank the first-story central entrance under the marquee. Anna Wagner Keichline (1889–1943), a 1911 graduate of Cornell's architecture school, began her design career in high school by crafting furniture in her Bellefonte home workshop. By 1912, she was designing buildings for private clients, and became the first female registered architect in Pennsylvania in 1920, when the commonwealth began certification of architects for the first time. Another maroon brick building, c. 1916, by Keichline at the southwest corner of S. Allegheny and W. Bishop streets initially served as the Cadillac dealership and apartments. She was an early auto enthusiast who enjoyed servicing and repairing her own car.

Keichline invented a precursor of the concrete block in 1927, called the “K brick,” a light, fireproof clay brick that was intended to be filled with insulation and used in hollow wall construction. Her reputation as an architect, inventor, suffragist, and World War I Army Intelligence agent prompted the commonwealth to erect a historical marker in her memory in 2002 in front of the theater, which is now used as an antiques cooperative.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Plaza Centre (Plaza Theater)", [Bellefonte, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-CE3.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 342-342.

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